What is gender dysphoria? If your teen has expressed discomfort with their body or a desire to be treated as a different gender, it’s possible that they are experiencing gender dysphoria. It can be difficult for teens who struggle with their gender identity to come to a place of self-acceptance, leading them to struggle internally and affecting their overall mental health.
Whether you’re a teen wondering what gender dysphoria feels like or you’re a parent hoping to help your child through a difficult time, the experts at Ascend can help explain what’s going on.
What Is Gender Dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria is a feeling that one’s gender identity is different from their physical sex or sex-related physical characteristics. It’s important to understand that it isn’t a child’s preferred gender identity that is a problem, rather, their discomfort with themselves and the way they feel that needs to be addressed. Other than the difference between their physical sex and their gender identity, some concerns your child may be wrestling with include:
- A desire to be rid of their primary or secondary sex characteristics
- A desire for different sex characteristics
- Wanting to be the other gender or a different gender
- A feeling that they are living as the wrong gender
Any teen who is struggling with their gender identity requires a supportive, open environment to discuss their concerns and help them find their way to self-acceptance.
What Does Gender Dysphoria Feel Like?
Professionals agree that teens who struggle with gender identity will experience some or all of the following:
- General Distress
- Negative Feelings About Their Body
- Feeling Like A Part of Themselves is Missing
A more serious concern that can affect any teen questioning their gender identity, is the way in which society, their families, and their peers react to how they present themselves. Negative experiences related to their gender identity can cause trauma that develops into lifelong confusion, depression, or anger.
Is Your Teen Experiencing Gender Dysphoria?
Now that you better understand what gender dysphoria is, you might be wondering if any of these thoughts and feelings are affecting your child. There are several things you can look for that might help you understand if your teen is experiencing gender identity issues including:
- Changes in behavior
- Expressing discomfort with their body
- Feelings of isolation or rejection from peers
- Anxiety or depression
- Poor self-esteem
- Self harm or suicidal thoughts
Talking with your teen can help you understand what they are experiencing and help them find comfort in the support of a loved one. If you think your child needs more comprehensive support to work through their gender identity concerns, an LGBTQ-friendly residential treatment center can provide additional care and guidance.
Gender Identity Support at Ascend
Has your teen been asking what gender dysphoria is? Do you think they’re questioning their gender identity? It might be time to reach out for help. At Ascend Healthcare, we’re committed to providing a supportive, welcoming environment to all LGBTQ+ clients. Our treatment professionals utilize evidence-based and experiential therapies to help our clients learn more about themselves.
Through group sessions, one on one discussions, and family therapy, we help you understand your child and ensure they can build a strong foundation for a happy life. Once you and your child recognize and accept what gender dysphoria is, you can move forward towards a better future.
If you’re ready to discuss residential care for teens with gender dysphoria, reach out to our mental health professionals at 310.388.3713 today.